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Players Union should go ‘Euro’

November 9, 2011

A strong contingent of European players in the NBA were pushing the Union to accept the owners’ “final” offer recently, this according to the Chicago Tribune. Why were they, of all people, so intent on getting a season started ASAP? This is the one group of players who you’d think could best handle an extended Lockout. Should the season even be canceled these guys would just return to Europe and be stars over there…making comparable money and probably increasing their fame. Yet they are the ones pushing hardest for a deal to get done. This tells you all you need to know about labor negotiations and what needs to happen soon if we are to save the season. The Union needs to listen to this foreign delegation of players rather than succumb to the pressure of high-profile American players and their American agents…people who have had it all their way since the last Lockout in 1999.

Has anyone else noticed the lack of European players serving as labor reps in the NBA? They have just as much vested interest in a new labor deal as the American players. Do the ‘powers at be’ think that their English isn’t good enough to be part of the negotiations? Their language skills couldn’t possibly be worse than Charles Barkley‘s. If Ted Turner could hire Sir Charles, then certainly Billy Hunter can handle Dirk Nowitzki‘s accent (years of listening to David Hasselhoff songs have done wonders). No, I know why American players dominate the union delegation…it’s because they are perceived to have a chip on their shoulders. The majority of American ballers came up in a rough neighborhood where little was handed to them other than a basketball. Well, how do you think guys like Peja Stojakovic and Hedo Turkoglu grew up?? It was hardly like Eddie Murphy in Coming to America…these guys had it rough too (well, maybe not Tony Parker). They made the most of themselves using their athletic skills just like players here in the States did. However, they don’t have the same animosity towards the wealthy bosses of the NBA as domestic players do. What better people to have fighting the insanely wealthy elite known as the NBA owners  (people who haven’t cut their own grass or washed their own cars in decades)? There would be a lot less posturing and a lot more listening…..and definitely fewer “plantation” references.

The basis of this labor struggle is pride. The players made out well in the last labor deal and they are taking it personally that the owners want to tip the scales back in their favor. These athletes view the terms that they have had recently as something they earned, things that can’t possibly be taken away from them. Well, they can be taken away…and they will be. The players can’t keep gaining from each new labor deal, eventually the playing field must level out. A flexible cap system…gone. A majority of the basketball-related income…poof. While the American players huff n’ scuff n’ pout, the foreign players are probably rolling their eyes. The terms being offered sound good to the European players. They aren’t caught up in the game…the Lockout isn’t a contest to them. The foreign guys just want to get back on the court and continue ‘living the dream’. These are the pure ball players of the NBA…..

When you hear an NBA player today say that all he wants to do is just play basketball again, you should check his passport. Next time around let’s get some European players on these labor committees. It would make a world of difference.


{for a list of all 30 Players Union Reps, see here}

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